World Animal Day was established in 1931 by a group of ecologists in Florence Italy as a way to highlight the plight of endangered species. Nearly 85 years later, World Animal Day is now celebrated in every country and has expanded to include all animals, large and small, wild and domesticated, and the impact they have on our lives.
The date of October 4th was chosen to coincide with The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. Every country observes this holiday in their own unique way with festivities ranging from animal welfare-centric spelling bees for kids in Zanzibar, animal shelter inaugurations in Nepal, a 250 km trek against animal cruelty in Sydney and a retirement community fundraiser in the U.K.!
Here in the United States, we have a wide variety of events that represent our diverse citizens and culture. Here are a couple ways you can celebrate and help organizations give back to causes that help animals on World Animal Day.
- Fashion First Aid is a great website that donates 1% of all sales to animals. On the 3rd, they will be upping their donations to the Wood River Valley Animal Shelter. For every selfie photo someone posts on Facebook with his or her favorite animal and tags @FashionFirstAid they will donate an extra $1. They are hoping a selfie post-a-thon ensues!
- Churches throughout the United States hold their annual “Blessing of the Animals” events on or around October 3rd. In honor of The Feast of St. Francis, owners bring their pets to be blessed with good health for the coming year. If you are a California resident, please visit SeeCalifornia.com for a list of churches holding ceremonies. For other cities and states, you can do a Google search for “blessing of the animals events” with your hometown included, to see what is happening in your area churches.
- Make a donation to an organization participating in the Michelson Found Animals Saving Pets Challenge in collaboration with CrowdRise. The team that raises the most donations wins a $50,000 grant AND keeps all the money they raised. There is $100,000 dollars in grant money up for grabs as well as weekly bonus challenges.
- Help shelter animals and staff by donating old towels, blankets and newspapers. You never know what your local shelter may need so pay them a visit on World Animal Day and ask how you can get involved.
- Sign up and start fundraising for an upcoming walk or run like Race for the Rescues.
- Combine World Animal Day and Pit Bull Awareness Month by taking some time to get to know a pit bull in need.
A few things we always suggest are to foster, volunteer or adopt. These three actions save lives and are a great way to acknowledge and be thankful for the way animals enrich our lives, by giving love, safety, shelter and comfort to a homeless animal in transit with an unsure future.
How are you celebrating World Animal Day this year? Tell us in the comments below.